Working with parents affected by alcohol and other drug use: Considering the needs of children in practice

Working with parents affected by alcohol and other drug use: Considering the needs of children in practice

Gill Munro, Lisa Hofman, Yinka Olaitan and Sarah Kendrick
16 October 2019

This webinar discussed how practitioners working with parents affected by alcohol and other drug use can enhance their child-focused practice.

This webinar was held on Wednesday 16 October 2019.

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A full recording of the webinar and related resources, including slides, audio and a transcript, will be published soon. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive a notification when these resources are available.

Research shows that children who have at least one parent affected by alcohol and other drug (AOD) use are more likely to experience a range of poorer outcomes in mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. Yet adults who present to adult-focused services may not discuss their parent–child relationship nor their children’s wellbeing unless practitioners specifically ask.

This webinar discussed how practitioners working with parents where AOD use is a presenting concern can engage parents in having child-focused and parent-sensitive conversations. It examined how these conversations can identify and strengthen protective factors and improve immediate and long-term outcomes for children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Our Child and Family Partner discussed her experience of working with practitioners who were able to successfully engage with parents on their hopes for their child, and how this became a motivating factor for change.

This webinar provided:

  • a clear understanding of how parental AOD use can affect the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of children
  • insight into how children can be a motivating factor for parents in addressing their AOD use
  • an understanding that when parents receive support, there is a greater possibility that any problems the child and the family may be experiencing will be addressed
  • an exploration of how child-focused practices can be used to have conversations with parents in ways that identify and strengthen protective factors for children.

Related resources


This webinar was co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds in a series focusing on children’s mental health. They are working together as part of the Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

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Featured image: © GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

About the presenters

Gill Munro

Gill is a social worker with several years’ experience as manager of a large specialist drug and alcohol service. During her time in this position, she took a particular interest in the roles that stigma and background trauma play in the recovery of people with substance use issues. She is especially interested in how those factors affect women’s lives and the lives of their children. Gill also has experience working in the homelessness sector. Gill currently works as a Workforce Development Officer with Emerging Minds, and uses her experience as a social worker to inform her work in developing resources that will support practitioners who work with parents and children from significantly disadvantaged backgrounds.

Lisa Hofman

Lisa is a Senior Social Worker at Jarrah House, having worked there since 2009. Jarrah House is a residential medical detoxification and rehabilitation unit for women with substance misuse issues and comorbid mental health and their children. Lisa holds a Master of Social Work and specialises in child protection, parent coaching, neuroscience and early infant and childhood mental health. She is a member of the AASW and The Australian Association of Infant Mental Health, and is a trained Circle of Security Parent Facilitator. She is passionate about supporting families and mothers, in particular, to be supported to share secure relationships with their children.

Yinka Olaitan

Yinka is completing a Masters in Social Work (Qualifying) through Sydney University and has been working in the field of drug and alcohol rehabilitation since 2017. She is trained and experienced in the delivery of the Circle of Security Parenting Intervention program. Yinka enjoys working with women and their children, and feels it is a privilege to be a part of their journey to recovery. Yinka is a mum of two, and particularly enjoys connecting with people, exploring diversity and celebrating difference.

Sarah Kendrick

Sarah is a mother of two with lived experience of AOD and mental health issues, who is now studying community services. She is interested in giving back to the community by sharing her unique knowledge and perspective with other consumers of AOD and mental health services and with professionals working in the sector.

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